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  • Morning Bell: Guns, Background Checks, and Your Rights

    Harry Reid has a doozy of a gun plan, but President Obama wants to reassure you that it’s just “common sense.”

    In a speech Wednesday, Obama said that “opponents of some of these common-sense laws have ginned up fears among responsible gun owners that have nothing to do with what’s being proposed and nothing to do with the facts, but feeds into this suspicion about government.”

    As Heritage’s David Addington reminds us, America’s founders were the first to have this suspicion of government, and that’s part of the reason why they made certain that the Second Amendment protected our right to keep and bear arms. And as for the facts, the proposals from Senate Majority Leader Reid (D-NV) have major problems.

    Addington, head of Heritage’s Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, lays out some of the dangers in Reid’s proposal:

    Background checks have become the focus of the new wave of gun control laws. Obama insists that “We’re not proposing a gun registration system; we’re proposing background checks for criminals.”

    It’s worth noting that criminals wouldn’t bother themselves with going through America’s existing background check system—and pointing out that there is a background check system in place. The new laws Reid is proposing would capitalize on fears of “loopholes” to create intrusive records of gun transfers.

    Addington warns:

    the loose language could be construed to allow the Department of Justice itself (or another agency specified by the Attorney General) to keep centralized records of who received what guns and where, by sale or gift from one individual to another.

    Even the ACLU is worried, according to an exclusive Daily Caller report. The ACLU’s Chris Calabrese said that Reid’s legislation fails to include “privacy best practices.”

    “We think that that kind of record-keeping requirement could result in keeping long-term detailed records of purchases and creation of a new government database,” Calabrese said.

    The Daily Caller reports that “The ACLU’s second ‘significant concern’ with Reid’s legislation is that it too broadly defines the term ‘transfer,’ creating complicated criminal law that law-abiding Americans may unwittingly break.”

    Heritage’s Addington agreed, explaining that Reid’s legislation would treat anyone as a felon “who misplaces a firearm and does not report it to the police and the federal government fast enough.” He said:

    Under no circumstances should Congress make it a federal crime to fail to report a missing firearm within 24 hours to local authorities and the Attorney General. It is an unreasonable use of power to define as a federal crime conduct that no reasonable person would know was a federal crime.

    But President Obama insists that “suspicion about government” is unfounded.

    LEARN MORE:

    Loose Language in Reid’s Gun Control Bill Allows the Beginnings of a National Gun Registry

    The So-Called Gun Show Loophole: Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics

    Read the Morning Bell and more en español every day at Heritage Libertad.

    Quick Hits:

    • North Korea continues to warn that it could start a war any day now.
    • Yesterday, headlines warned of sequestration’s effects on health care. But that is small potatoes compared to the cuts coming under Obamacare.
    • States are under pressure to expand Medicaid. But people covered by Medicaid have worse health than those in private insurance, according to a new poll.
    • Would you trust the IRS to prepare your taxes? It’s a bad idea, writes Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform.
    • Want to learn more about North Korea’s threat? Join us at noon ET for a Google+ hangout with Heritage expert Bruce Klingner and others.
    Posted in Legal [slideshow_deploy]

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